The NAB League (formerly known as the TAC Cup) is an under-19 Australian rules football representative competition held in Victoria, Australia. It is based on geographic regions throughout country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne with each team representing twelve Victorian regions, while a thirteenth team from Tasmania was reintroduced in 2019. The competition is sponsored by National Australia Bank, having previously been sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission since its inception.
The competition is one of the primary sources of recruitment for AFL clubs from Victoria. The TAC Cup provides an opportunity for talented regional players to participate in a high standard competition without having to relocate too far from their place of origin. The competition has a very successful pathway with players missing AFL selection often being recruited by semi-professional state, country and regional leagues throughout Australia.
With the focus of the VFL/AFL moving rapidly towards national competition, the old metropolitan and country Victorian zoning recruitment method for VFL/AFL clubs was phased out and at the start of 1992 the league's under-19 competition was disbanded.
A new competition, administered by the Victorian State Football League and sponsored by the Transport Accident Commission, was formed as an avenue to where many young Victorian under-18 players make their transition to becoming senior Australian Football League players. In 1992 the competition consisted of five metropolitan teams and one country team. The initial teams were the Northern Knights, Eastern Ranges, Southern Stingrays (renamed the Dandenong Stingrays in 1995), Western Jets, Central Dragons (renamed the Prahran Dragons in 1995, then the Sandringham Dragons in 2000) and Geelong Falcons.
In 1993 an additional four country teams were included — the Murray Bushrangers, Bendigo Pioneers, Gippsland Power and Ballarat Rebels (renamed the North Ballarat Rebels in 1996, then the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in 2017). In 1995 two additional metropolitan regions were established with the Oakleigh Chargers and Calder Cannons teams included in the competition.
In 1995, a Tasmanian-based team, the Tassie Mariners, commenced in the competition, becoming the league's first non-Victorian side. The following year, the NSW/ACT Rams were admitted. The Mariners and Rams both exited the competition as full-time members at the end of the 2002, returning the competition to twelve teams.
The Gold Coast Football Club recruited several under-18s players in the 2008/09 summer, and participated in the TAC Cup in 2009 (before playing in the VFL in 2010 and the AFL from 2011). Similarly, the Greater Western Sydney Giants fielded a TAC Cup team in 2010, two seasons prior to its introduction to the AFL in 2012.
Four interstate teams—the Tassie Mariners, NSW/ACT Rams, Queensland Scorpions and the Northern Territory Thunder—each play a handful of games each year against TAC Cup teams, particularly in the lead-up to the annual AFL Under 18 Championships; these games are counted as part of the TAC Cup premiership season, but the interstate clubs are not eligible for the premiership.
Between 1995 and 2008, the finals system was in a knock-out format. This reverted to a traditional finals system in 2009 with the introduction of the Gold Coast team. In 2010, this was extended to include 12 of the 13 clubs participating that season, with the extra matches forming an extended knockout format. In 2011 the finals system was reverted to the traditional eight-team AFL finals series. Prior to the 2014 season, the NSW/ACT Rams was reestablished as a TAC Cup team, with players from the Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants young academy sides being picked for the NSW/ACT team.
From 2019, the newly-named NAB League will introduce six new teams: the AFL Academy sides of Gold Coast, GWS Giants, Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions; the Northern Territory; and the returning Tassie Mariners. Additionally, teams will be able to include more 19-year-olds – previously only three could be selected.
Although primarily a competition for 18-year-olds, exceptions are made for bottom-aged players—16- or 17-year-olds—and since 2007, over-age players—19-year-olds—to participate in the competition.
Since the beginning of the 2007 TAC Cup season, clubs have been granted permission to select up to five over-age players permitted on their lists.
Nonetheless, age eligibility requirements remain for the AFL Draft, where players must have turned seventeen years of age by 30 April of that draft year to be eligible for selection by an AFL club.
The Morrish Medal is awarded to the best player in the competition each year. The same medal was previously awarded to the best player in the Victorian Football League Thirds/Under-19s competition, which the TAC Cup superseded.
TAC Cup Coaches Award
The TAC Cup Coaches Award is voted on by both coaches in a 5–4–3–2–1 format at the end of each game. At the end of the 2015 season, the award was discontinued.
|2015||Jade Gresham||Northern Knights|
|2014||Oscar McDonald||North Ballarat Rebels|
|2013||Louis Herbert||North Ballarat Rebels|
|2012||Jake Lloyd||North Ballarat Rebels|
|2011||Shaun Marusic||Gippsland Power|
|2010||Adam Marcon||Northern Knights|
|2009||Anton Woods||Northern Knights|
|2008||Rory Sloane||Eastern Ranges|
|2007||Matthew Kreuzer||Northern Knights|
|2006||Andrew Horne||Calder Cannons|
|2005||Richard Douglas||Calder Cannons|
|2004||Adam Pattison||Northern Knights|
|2003||Colin Sylvia||Bendigo Pioneers|
|2002||Blake Grima||Eastern Ranges|
|2000||Paul Carson||Western Jets|
|1999||Leigh Brown||Gippsland Power|
|1998||Stephen Hazleman||Gippsland Power|
|1997||Matthew Bernes||Tassie Mariners|
|1996||Tim Finocchiaro||Eastern Ranges|
|1995||Jason Snell||Eastern Ranges|
|1994||Jason McFarlane||Gippsland Power|
|1993||Angelo Lekkas||Northern Knights|
|1992||Brad Smith||Northern Knights|
The Match of the Round is broadcast live on Rumble 103, an internet radio station based in Melbourne.
There is a TAC Cup show screening on GTV Channel 9 in Melbourne and across Victoria and Inland NSW border regions on WIN Television from 1 p.m. every Sunday from late March until the end of September.
TAC Cup matches were broadcast live on Channel C31 Melbourne television in Melbourne, Geelong & regional Victoria in 2010.
Radio stations SYN FM & RRR FM will broadcast coverage of TAC Cup football matches every weekend during the season.
|Team||Region(s)||Seasons||Premierships||Home ground||Training ground|
|Northern Knights||Northern Melbourne,
North Eastern Melbourne
|1992–present||4 (1993, 1994, 1995, 1996)||Preston City Oval||Preston City Oval,|
La Trobe University
|Eastern Ranges||Eastern Melbourne||1992–present||2 (2002, 2013)||Box Hill City Oval||Kilsyth Recreation Reserve|
|Dandenong Stingrays||South Eastern Melbourne,
|1992–present||1 (2018)||Shepley Oval, Dandenong||Shepley Oval|
|Western Jets||Western Melbourne,
|1992–present||0||Burbank Oval||W.L.J. Crofts Reserve, Altona|
Brookside Oval, Caroline Springs
|Sandringham Dragons||Bayside Melbourne,
Inner South East Melbourne
|1992–present||3 (1999, 2011, 2016)||Trevor Barker Beach Oval||Princes Park Oval,|
|1992–present||3 (1992, 2000, 2017)||Chirnside Park,
Kardinia Park (Stadium)
|Murray Bushrangers||Goulburn Valley,
North Eastern Victoria
|1993–present||2 (1998, 2008)||WJ Findlay Oval, Wangaratta
Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta
Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Albury Sports Ground, Albury
Deakin Reserve, Shepparton
|Norm Minns Oval|
|1993–present||0||Queen Elizabeth Oval, Bendigo||Golden Square Football Oval|
|Gippsland Power||Gippsland||1993–present||1 (2005)||Morwell Recreation Reserve, Morwell||Morwell Recreation Reserve|
|Greater Western Victoria Rebels||Ballarat,
|1993–present||1 (1997)||Eureka Stadium, North Ballarat||Eureka Stadium|
|Oakleigh Chargers||South Eastern Melbourne,
Inner Eastern Melbourne,
|1995–present||4 (2006, 2012, 2014, 2015)||Warrawee Park, Oakleigh||Warrawee Park|
|Calder Cannons||North Western Melbourne,
|1995–present||6 (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010)||Highgate Recreation Reserve, Craigieburn||Highgate Recreation Reserve|
|Tassie Mariners||Tasmania||1996–2002;2019-||0||Bellerive Oval,
|Gold Coast Suns||Gold Coast Queensland||2009; 2019-||0||Metricon Stadium|
|Brisbane Lions||Brisbane Queensland||2019-||0||Gabba|
|NT Thunder||Northern Territory||2019-||0||TIO Stadium|
|Sydney Swans||New South Wales||2019-||0||Sydney Cricket Ground|
|Greater Western Sydney Giants||Greater Western Sydney, New South Wales||2010, 2019-||0||Spotless Stadium|
NAB League premiers
|1992||Geelong Falcons||18.16 (124) – 12.10 (82)||Western Jets||Daniel Fletcher|
|1993||Northern Knights||32.10 (202) – 18.11 (119)||Western Jets||Shannon Gibson|
|1994||Northern Knights||16.21 (117) – 15.17 (107)||Geelong Falcons||Anthony Rocca|
|1995||Northern Knights||12.20 (92) – 7.21 (63)||Eastern Ranges||Brent Harvey|
|1996||Northern Knights||15.15 (105) – 14.6 (90)||NSW/ACT Rams||Matthew Harrison|
|1997||North Ballarat Rebels||16.15 (111) – 10.16 (76)||Dandenong Stingrays||Adam Goodes|
|1998||Murray Bushrangers||17.18 (120) – 12.12 (84)||Geelong Falcons||Michael Stevens|
|1999||Sandringham Dragons||16.8 (104) – 8.6 (54)||Gippsland Power||Dylan Smith|
|2000||Geelong Falcons||18.16 (124) – 15.12 (102)||Eastern Ranges||Amon Buchanan|
|2001||Calder Cannons||16.14 (110) – 10.13 (73)||Bendigo Pioneers||Jordan Barham|
|2002||Eastern Ranges||10.5 (65) – 9.10 (64)||Calder Cannons||Stephen Dinnell|
|2003||Calder Cannons||16.14 (110) – 2.6 (18)||Murray Bushrangers||Brock McLean|
|2004||Calder Cannons||19.20 (134) – 9.10 (64)||Eastern Ranges||Jesse D. Smith|
|2005||Gippsland Power||12.9 (81) – 10.6 (66)||Dandenong Stingrays||Dale Thomas|
|2006||Oakleigh Chargers||19.16 (130) – 16.7 (103)||Calder Cannons||Dean Kelly|
|2007||Calder Cannons||14.20 (104) – 7.12 (54)||Murray Bushrangers||Ashley Arrowsmith|
|2008||Murray Bushrangers||21.16 (142) – 9.7 (61)||Dandenong Stingrays||Steele Sidebottom|
|2009||Calder Cannons||17.10 (112) – 14.14 (98)||Dandenong Stingrays||Jake Melksham|
|2010||Calder Cannons||17.14 (116) – 8.10 (58)||Gippsland Power||Mitch Wallis|
|2011||Sandringham Dragons||17.11 (113) – 16.9 (105)||Oakleigh Chargers||Jack Viney|
|2012||Oakleigh Chargers||12.10 (82) – 12.9 (81)||Gippsland Power||Jackson Macrae|
|2013||Eastern Ranges||24.8 (152) – 5.10 (40)||Dandenong Stingrays|
|2014||Oakleigh Chargers||17.15 (117) – 11.4 (70)||Calder Cannons||Toby McLean|
|2015||Oakleigh Chargers||10.13 (73) – 9.7 (61)||Eastern Ranges||Kade Answerth|
|2016||Sandringham Dragons||12.13 (85) – 9.14 (68)||Murray Bushrangers||Andrew McGrath|
|2017||Geelong Falcons||13.11 (89) – 13.9 (87)||Sandringham Dragons||Gryan Miers|
|2018||Dandenong Stingrays||12.8 (80) - 11.8 (74)||Oakleigh Chargers||Matthew Rowell|
Total premierships by club
- 6 – Calder Cannons
- 4 – Oakleigh Chargers, Northern Knights
- 3 – Geelong Falcons, Sandringham Dragons
- 2 – Eastern Ranges, Murray Bushrangers
- 1 – Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power, Greater Western Victoria Rebels
- 0 – Bendigo Pioneers, Western Jets
NSW/ACT Rams, as of 2015, do not play a full season, and therefore cannot compete for the premiership.
Total runner-up placements by club
- 5 – Dandenong Stingrays
- 4 – Eastern Ranges
- 3 – Murray Bushrangers, Calder Cannons, Gippsland Power
- 2 – Oakleigh Chargers, Geelong Falcons, Western Jets
- 1 – Sandringham Dragons, Bendigo Pioneers, NSW/ACT Rams
- 0 – Greater Western Victoria Rebels, Northern Knights
NAB League Girls
A female youth competition, equivalent to the TAC Cup, was inaugurated in 2017; all TAC Cup clubs entered teams and shared training grounds. Reaction to the establishment was positive, with Fiona Richardson, Victorian Minister for Women, praising the league for its encouragement of women's sports. Carlton vice-captain Madeline Keryk said the competition helped equalise opportunities for boys and girls in junior football.
The first season was a five-round competition. The Calder Cannons won all five of their matches and overcame the Murray Bushrangers on percentage to claim the inaugural premiership. The second season was a nine-round competition culminating in a grand final. The inaugural grand finalists were the Geelong Falcons and the Northern Knights. The Falcons won 32–21, completing an unbeaten season.
NAB League Girls premiers
|Season||Premiers||Runners-up||Grand Final score||Ref.|
|2017||Calder Cannons||Murray Bushrangers||None|||
|2018||Geelong Falcons||Northern Knights||4.8 (32) – 3.3 (21)|||
- Cleary, Mitch (1 March 2019). "TAC Cup no more: Elite U18 comp gets new name, new App, and Tassie". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
- "Our History". Sandringham Dragons Football Club. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "2014 TAC Cup fixture released". Sportingpulse. 12 December 2013. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Rams to travel to Melbourne for first TAC Cup game in 12 years
- Twomey, Callum (17 August 2018). "TAC Cup set for major overhaul in 2019". afl.com.au. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- Balmer, Matt (17 August 2018). "AFL Draft 2018: Premier TAC Cup competition set for major shake-up to include interstate teams in Victoria". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
- TAC Cup Coaches Award details
- "Draft bolter Clayton Oliver clinches Morrish Medal". AFL.com.au. 13 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- "TAC Cup award night winners". Sportingpulse. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- Herbert wins award in TAC Cup
- Rolfe, Peter (1 March 2017). "TAC Cup Girls competition set to open doors for elite young players". Herald Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- "Calder TAC Cup Girls premiers". aflvic.com.au. AFL Victoria. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- "Greater Western Rebels to open season 2018 against Bendigo". The Courier. Fairfax Media. 22 December 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
- Murray, Tara (21 May 2018). "Northern Knights bested in TAC Cup decider". Star Weekly. Retrieved 4 March 2019.